Each of ESPN.com's 32 NFL Nation reporters took part in a mock draft on Tuesday, and trades were allowed. That added a fun twist to mock draft from a Patriots perspective.
The task for reporters was to make the decision that we thought the team would, not what we would do personally.
Because I believe Bill Belichick favors a trade-back scenario in this year's draft if the right opportunity presents itself, the main thing I was looking for was if a quarterback slipped to the bottom of the first round and if that created any trade activity. That's exactly what unfolded, as by around pick 16 there were calls from the Jaguars and Vikings. If the player they wanted was still there at No. 29, they wanted to know what it would take to get back in.
The baseline was last year's trade, which netted the Patriots second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round picks from the Vikings. If that volume or quality of picks wasn't a possibility, talks would have to include a 2015 first-rounder.
Things moved quickly, with the Jaguars (picking near the top of each round) ultimately offering this package:
Second round (39th)
Fourth round (114th)
Fifth round (150th)
Seventh round (222nd)
I was pretty far down the road with Jacksonville when the Vikings made an offer that also was compelling:
Second round (40th)
Third round (96th)
Fifth round (141st)
At that point, I felt like ethically I was far enough down the line with the Jaguars that I couldn't back out of the trade and take the Vikings' offer. That lack of killer instinct might be frowned upon by Belichick, or perhaps he'd still like getting four picks for his first-rounder just to move back 10 spots from No. 29, especially when he's taking those picks from a team within the conference.
Either way, I thought both deals would be solid and if that type of scenario unfolds Thursday night, I think Belichick would be pleased.